We all need time off. Like serious time off. Time when we feel like we’re able to truly rejuvenate without the little panicked voice chirping away in the back of our heads fretting about the backlog of things we are going to have to deal with when we come in. Information overload can be a very taxing issue for many people. Luckily, many services allow us to go zen without making us feel guilty. Most of us can scan Twitter without obsessing over all that we missed. And there’s simply too many blogs to think about all that we haven’t read. Unfortunately, email is the one app that we feel guilty about turning off. Why? Cuz the interface is designed to put you on a hamster wheel, rarely ever succeeding at letting you reach empty. You feel accomplished when you get to inbox zero. And then you sleep and it’s all back to haunt you. For this reason, I recommend taking an email sabbatical.
danah boyd – How to Take an Email Sabbatical
This article lays out danah boyd’s excellent plan for getting away from your email and recharging your batteries. It is the sort of thing we should all probably do more often than we do.
With a $107,500 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, CUNY has announced that it will now begin work on the “Commons in a Box” project, assembling its software into a single installation package. This means that other colleges and universities will be able to easily create their own academic platforms. News of the project came with the announcement that the Modern Language Association will take part in its development and will use the platform to create an MLA Commons for its members.
The project has been built using open-source tools, including WordPress (which enables multisite blogs), BuddyPress (a WordPress plugin that turns the blog into a social network), and MediaWiki (the Wikimedia Foundation’s wiki software). As a proponent of open-source technologies in education, that makes the Commons in a Box project a win in my book. It isn’t simply that the project will put the tools to create their own academic networks into the hands of schools; it’s that the Academic Commons development team has been sharing its coding back with the open source community, with WordPress plugins for example that have been downloaded over 100,000 times.
Inside Higher Ed: “Commons in a Box” & the Importance of Open Academic Networks
CUNY’s project joins a number of other major university projects including Open.Michigan, ELMS @ Penn State, and Open Scholar @ Harvard that are using open source software and licensing to develop sophisticated collaborative learning and research spaces. Given the collaborative nature of legal practice, law schools should be at the forefront of these sorts of projects.